The US Government’s Current Stance On Online Gambling
It’s important for players and affiliates to be aware of the United States government’s stance on online gambling. There was a time when gambling online as a United States resident was legal. This is no longer the case, thanks to the Federal Wire Act which was passed in November 2002 as well as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
Even though the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that electronic transmission for sports betting is illegal, and does not specifically call out Internet gambling on games of chance, the federal Department of Justice continues to take the stance that this act covers all forms of online gambling. With the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, this is clearer than ever before.
Online gambling is currently illegal in all 50 states. Additionally, some states have their own laws against internet gambling and sports betting. Owning an online gambling organization is illegal without a license and at this time no states are allowed to grant gaming licenses to operators.
The question remains: why is the United States so opposed to online gambling? In 2003, John G. Malcolm, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, made it clear during testimony with the Senate Banking Committee that the United States Department of Justice is concerned with money laundering as well as a variety of other illegal activity.
Over the years, many politicians have taken on this case and lost. For example, Rep. Barney Frank introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act in 2007. Later the same year, Rep. Robert Wexler introduced the Skill Game Protection Act with hopes that it would legalize online games of skill, including poker.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was added as Title VIII to the SAFE Port Act and is aimed at regulating online gambling. According to the act, it “prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was put into place to back up the Federal Wire Act of 2002 which was often times unclear.
The US government is serious about upholding the acts mentioned above. In April 2011, the founders of three large internet poker organizations – Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and PokerStars – were indicted for charges revolving around Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act violations.
Although there are grumblings that the United States government is beginning to reconsider its stance, for the time being online gambling remains illegal.
How do you feel about the government’s stance? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.